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Our picks for the 2011 TBS Just for Laughs festival

You’ll have to sprint to get it all in, but this year’s fest is worth it.


MILE 1: Tuesday 14
Prepare to sprint straight out of the gate. Chicago Underground Comedy Presents: Secret Big-Time Local Comedy Showcase (8pm, Beat Kitchen) features all kinds of local weirdos worth your comedy dollars, such as misanthrope James Fritz and nut job Candy Lawrence. But you’ll have to bolt to Lincoln Park if you want to make it in time to see Aussie wackadoodle Tim Minchin (10pm, Lincoln Hall) bang out comic ditties on his piano.

MILE 2: Wednesday 15
If you haven’t broken a sweat yet, you will today. Crotchety raconteurs Dave Attell, Jim Breuer, Bill Burr and Jim Norton team up for The Anti-Social Network (7:30pm, Chicago Theatre), but you’ll have to hoof it like hell if you’re going to catch the Pet Project Series with Tim Baltz (9:30pm, Playground Theater), a night of solo work featuring one of the Second City e.t.c.’s funniest cast members.
Can’t move fast enough to catch Baltz? Give your heart rate a rest and instead hit the later show Pet Project Series with BriTANick (10:30pm, Playground Theater), starring the NYC-based sketch duo that killed at last year’s Sketchfest.

MILE 3: June 16
Tonight’s stretch starts off again downtown with Demetri Martin & Special Guests, Who Are Also Comedians And Are Friends of His (7:30pm, Chicago Theatre). The friends in question happen to be fringe fave David O’Doherty, Chicago legends Hannibal Buress and Kumail Nanjiani, witty weirdo Kristen Schaal and the incomparable Paul F. Tompkins. Get ready to ride the rail to Lakeview for two back-to-back shows you’d be crazy to miss starting with Adsit & Lutz (10:30pm, iO Theater), a night of improv featuring Second City/iO vets and current 30 Rock stars Scott Adsit and John Lutz. Relax, and keep your ass planted on the bench for the POB Show (midnight, iO Theater), a variety show of sorts created in Chicago by current SNL writer Michael Pat O’Brien back when he was still cutting his teeth locally.

MILE 4: June 17
You’re doing great; don’t stop now! Roastmaster Jeffrey Ross brings his rapier wit to town for Jeffrey Ross Roasts Chicago (7:30pm, Vic Theatre), a night of digs at the Windy City. You should have plenty of time after the show lets out to hit up Alone: Chicago’s Best Solo Acts (10pm, Playground Theater), which features a giant buffet of local talent like Wendy Mateo, John Hartman, Paul Thomas and Chris Witaske. Afterward, take a swig of Gatorade and run on over to iO for The Chris Gethard Show (midnight, iO), a late-night talk show of sorts starring UCB alum Chris Gethard.
Even if you strayed off course you’re still on the right track. The Viva La Risa Comedy Tour presented by George Lopez (8pm, Park West) features amazing SF comic Brent Weinbach. You should also check out 5-Star Leading Ladies (10:30pm, Jokes & Notes) for a smorgasbord of hilarious women like Kellye Howard (pictured).

MILE 5: June 18
The race to the finish line begins tonight with Seth Meyers (7:30pm, Vic Theatre) fresh from both his fifth season as head SNL writer and also putting Trump in his place at the annual White House Correspondents’ Dinner. Next up, don’t miss the phenomenal Louis C.K. & Three Very Special Guests (10:30pm, Chicago Theatre).
Silver medal
Feeling worn out? If a dozen shows in six days feels like too much, try opting for the Best of the Fest (midnight, Red Bar Comedy Club), a grab bag of highlights from the week that was.

MILE 6: June 19
Cool down and relax; you have just one show left to see. The fest caps off a week of funny with Steve Martin and Martin Short in a Very Stupid Conversation (7:30pm, Chicago Theatre). For the first time, the Three Amigos and Father of the Bride costars appear together onstage for what we hope is an evening of unabashed ridiculousness.

Twix Presents TBS Just for Laughs Chicago happens Tuesday 14–June 19.

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